sealed by fireRating: 2 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

The day before his twenty-first birthday, Vanya, a sorcerer’s apprentice, finds himself bound to an altar as an unwilling sacrifice. For what, he has no idea. His master for the past eleven years, Zechariah King, summoned a fire elemental and then ran.  Now, suddenly Vanya is left in the ritual room with a big, naked man who introduces himself as Ignatius, or Nash for short.

Nash explains that King has spent decades attempting to control Nash because if he controls Nash, he controls Nash’s power, and that would make him not only immortal but near invincible. But then Nash does something unexpected. He binds himself to Vanya. Now they have three days—a sort of grace period—to gain allies before King comes back for Nash.

The snake shifters, or lamiae, are all too willing to help—not because of Nash, but because of a past wrong to be righted and to protect Vanya, an innocent. The snakes move into the estate that reverted to Vanya’s ownership upon his twenty-first birthday with Vanya and Nash. Along with attempting to cleanse the house of all the evil, Vanya is still trying to find himself and learn his craft to protect himself and the people he’s coming to care about. However, he fears his feelings for Nash and Nash’s for him are only due to the bond between them.

Then tragedy strikes. King is using death magic and to do so, he has killed his human lover. Now on top of trying to protect him and Nash from King, Vanya is working with the Magical Enforcement Squad to bring King down, hopefully before he can kill Vanya and bind himself to Nash.

Where to begin? I really don’t know. There is so much to this story and not a lot that I liked. So maybe I should begin with what I do like. I am a huge fantasy addict. I pretty much gobble up anything that comes out. Add to that dragons and it’s pretty much a given that I’m going to read it. So, yes, this blurb appealed to me. Not to mention I read a steampunk story by these authors once that I loved, so I was hopeful. Maybe the premise of this book is good, but the execution is far from good.

So, on to the rest. I’m disappointed by the characters here. For one, they’re inconsistent. In the beginning, Vanya is a poor, innocent apprentice that knows very little about magic and has even less self-confidence. But like six chapters later, he’s suddenly this headstrong, somewhat over-confident, snarky brat who is ready to stand up to the worst of enemies. Then there’s Nash, who is kind of just there. He wants to be Vanya’s protector, but he doesn’t do much. Their relationship is disappointing. Lots of sex does not relationship building make. And these guys definitely have a lot of sex. A lot. And really, I felt no connection to the guys individually or as a couple.

The world here is lacking as well. Instead of explaining things, of building the world, these authors throw things into the story and expect readers to know what’s going on or to simply accept it, like the Magical Enforcement Squad. At first they show up as cops, which would make sense, and then suddenly they’re magical cops that Vanya didn’t know existed and then it’s as if Vanya knew about them all along. Then there’s the fact that paranormals live in the human world. Throughout somewhere around eighty percent of the book I was under the impression that the magical community was hidden from the human world, as they were not really mentioned. Then—bam!—the authors throw in that the magical/paranormal community is not only known around the world, but accepted.
Then there are the many timing issues, like the fact that the altar was destroyed by the lamiae then two chapters later they talk about destroying the altar—again. There are little things, lots of them, that these authors missed. For example, Vanya sees Mike as some sort of threat, but then he’s a friend. Where I look for a collaboration between authors to be seamless, this one is obviously written by two authors.

Not only all of the above, but the structure of this story is frustrating and boring. There’s so much going on in this book and the authors walk readers through every single event of every single day. So many happenings, so many characters—just so much that doesn’t add anything to the plot. And with so much happening things are forgotten and subplots left unresolved. I just didn’t like it.
I wanted so badly to like this story, but I didn’t. I can’t say I won’t read more from these authors, but I’ll probably be more wary. Unfortunately, this is not a book I’d recommend.

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